World champion KONDO confirms in Tokyo and Brings First Gold to Japan in Judo Grand Slam, Tokyo 2014

Abdul Rahim from Tokyo, Japan, Dec 5, 2014: For this first day of competition, the level of the Judo Grand Slam, Tokyo 2014, already reached a very high level as several world and Olympic Champions were in action in today’s five weight categories: women’s -48kg, -52kg and -57kg an men’s -60kg and -66kg. Throughout the day, being a favorite didn’t prove to guarantee a place on the top of the podium and sometimes not even on the podium, as several top athletes were eliminated early during the preliminary rounds.

As expected, Japan was ever-present in today’s final block. As the host country, they were able to engage four fighters per weight category and beside the big names such as Matsumoto Kaori or Ebinuma Masashi, the Japanese delegation put on the scene some young fighters, who already showed their great potential.

During the opening ceremony, Mr. Muneoka Shoji, President of the All Japan Judo Federation, said: “On behalf of the organizers of the Grand Slam Tokyo 2014, which is again being held at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, I would like to extend my heartfelt welcome to the members of the International Judo Federation and to all the competitors and officials from around the world.

“The Grand Slam Tokyo celebrates its sixth anniversary this year. Top athletes including medallists from the World Judo Championships which was held in Chelyabinsk, Russia in August will be joining the competition. This year’s competition is expected to be more exciting than last year, since the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics qualification period has started from June 2014.

“Founded by Kano Jigoro Shihan, judo has been very popular and widely spread all over the world. It is imperative for us to properly succeed and to promote and develop judo furthermore, not only its aspect of competitive sport, but also the concept of resourceful human development, which has been primarily focused by Kano Shihan.

“I am looking forward to seeing all the competitors, as honorable representatives of the global judo, to display the best results of their daily efforts, compete fairly while trying to win by ‘IPPON’, and fascinate the judo fans all over the world by never deviating from the judo way which always puts emphasis on manners and dignity. In this regards, it is important that one should not boast after winning, and not to get too depressed after their defeat.

“I also hope that competitors and officials from each country and region will deepen their friendly relationship among themselves and make this event a memorable one.

“Last but not least, I would like to extend my deepest appreciation to all those who have made their best efforts for organizing the Grand Slam Tokyo 2014.”

Then Mr. Jean-Luc Rougé, IJF General Secretary, declared: “Dear President Mr. Muneoka, dear Mr. Kano, Ladies and Gentlemen, dear friends, on behalf of the IJF President, Mr. Marius Vizer, I want to thank all of the delegations which came here to Japan to participate in the Judo Grand Slam, Tokyo 2014. Japan created judo, not only a sport but an educative discipline for all the world and for the society. This is crucial that we continue to develop judo in this direction. I declare the Judo Grand Slam, Tokyo 2014 open.”

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Mr. Koji MUROFUSHI (center)

Today, the IJF and organizing committee of the Grand Slam had the honor and pleasure to welcome Mr. Koji MUROFUSHI, who is a Japanese hammer thrower. He was among the world elite for many years and started his international career at the 2001 World Championships, where he won the silver medal. He was the 2004 Olympic champion, 2012 Olympic bronze medallist and in 2011, he was crowned world champion. Today, Mr. MUROFUSHI is the Sporting Director of Tokyo 2020.

Mr. Ari Kurose, Technical Delegate and International Office Manager of International Kendo Federation war also present during the final block to enjoy the great show proposed by the competitors.

WOMEN
-48kg: World champion KONDO confirms in Tokyo and Brings First Gold to Japan
The first final of the day showed the supremacy of the Japanese squad over the lightweight category in the women’s -48kg as the current world champion, KONDO Ami (JPN) was opposed to ASAMI Haruna (JPN), two time world champion (Paris 2011, and Tokyo 2010). Only ten seconds were necessary for KONDO to take the advantage with a yoko-tomoe-nage for yuko. But then for the almost four remaining minutes, the scoreboard didn’t advance any more. With this victory the 19 year old world champion confirms that she has become the best athlete in the category.

The first bronze medal fight opposed the current Olympic champion, Sarah MENEZES (BRA) and the bronze medallist of the last Jeju Grand Prix, JEONG, Bo Kyeong (KOR). The Brazilian was defeated by Alesya KUZNETSOVA (RUS) during the preliminaries after an excellent ground work by the Russian, who concluded with an armlock for ippon. During the fight MENEZES was penalized with a shido for false attack. And this little penalty was enough for JEONG Bo Kyeong to celebrate the bronze medal, particularly important, when one see who was her opponent to access the podium.

The second bronze medal fight opposed Paula PARETO (ARG), silver medallist last summer in Russia on the occasion of the World championships, and Alesya KUZNETSOVA (RUS), who after her win against Menezes, was defeated by ASAMI Haruna (JPN) in the semi-final. This second bronze medal fight had approximately the same configuration as the first one and at the end of the four minutes, only two shido separated the two athletes. Being penalized two times for passivity, KUZNETSOVA finally offered the medal to PARETO, who with this result, proves once again, that she is among the best judoka in the world in the women’s -48kg.

Final Results: 1. KONDO, Ami (JPN). 2. ASAMI, Haruna (JPN). 3. JEONG, Bo Kyeong (KOR). 3. PARETO, Paula (ARG). 5. KUZNETSOVA, Alesya (RUS). 5. MENEZES, Sarah (BRA). 7. CHERNIAK, Maryna (UKR). 7. UNGUREANU, Monica (ROU)

-52kg: HASHIMOTO Adds a Second Tokyo Grand Slam Title in a Row to her Prize List
Once again the Japanese athletes didn’t give any chance to their opponents and two of the four Japanese competitors engaged in the morning in the category, were present in the final, HASHIMOTO Yuki (JPN) and NISHIDA Yuka (JPN). At the halfway point of the final, HASHIMOTO, winner of last year’s edition of the Grand Slam, had a small lead of one shido, an advantage that she was able to keep until the end of the final.

The first bronze medal fight saw the winner of last year’s edition of the Grand Slam, SHISHIME Ai (JPN) and the world number 8 and London Olympic silver medallist, Yanet BERMOY ACOSTA (CUB). SHISHIME launched the first attack with a left handed uchi-mata. But without the control of the left arm, she could not score. A few seconds later the Japanese launched a reverse shoulder attack, this time for yuko, before the Cuban was penalized a first time for passivity. Incapable of attacking and totally under the pressure of SHISHIME, BERMOY ACOSTA was again penalized, to confirm the bronze medal for the Japanese.

The second bronze medal fight opposed two athletes well known at the international level, the bronze medallist of the last World Championships in Chelyabinsk, Erika MIRANDA (BRA), and the already two-time world champion, NAKAMURA Misato (JPN) (Paris 2011 and Rotterdam 2009). After a little more than 1 minute and 30 seconds, Miranda scored the first waza-ari with a left handed ippon-seoi-nage. But this was not the last waza-ari, as NAKAMURA also scored the same advantage with an opportunistic ko-soto-gake, before concluding with an immobilization just outside of the fighting area.

Final Results: 1. HASHIMOTO, Yuki (JPN). 2. NISHIDA, Yuka (JPN). 3. NAKAMURA, Misato (JPN). 3. SHISHIME, Ai (JPN). 5. BERMOY ACOSTA, Yanet (CUB). 5. MIRANDA, Erika (BRA). 7. BABAMURATOVA, Gulbadam (TKM).
7. CHITU, Andreea (ROU)

-57kg: MATSUMOTO is Back on the Top of the Podium
After a deceiving World Championships, this summer, where she was eliminated at the first round by Marti Malloy (USA), the current Olympic champion and Japanese idol, MATSUMOTO Kaori was closely watched in Tokyo. Without any major problem, she entered the final after having successively defeated RAHMING Cynthia (BAH), Sabrina FILZMOSER (AUT), Aliuska OJEDA (CUB) and Corina CAPRIORIU (ROU) in the semi-final. In the final she was opposed last summer World silver medallist Telma MONTEIRO of Portugal. A large smile suddenly shined on MATSUMOTO’s face, when she immobilized the Portuguese judoka for ippon, after having perfectly controlled the fight.

The first bronze medal fight of the category opposed the two Japanese teammates, YAMAMOTO Anzu (JPN), already winner of two Grand Slam in here career, and YOSHIDA Tsukasa (JPN), whose best result so far was a bronze medal at the World Cup Jeju 2012, event before the competition became a Grand Prix, last year. With her victory against YAMAMOTO Anzu, YOSHIDA Tsukasa definitely adds an important line to her prize list.

In the last bronze medal fight of the day, Corina CAPRIORIU (ROU), silver medallist at the London 2012 Olympic Games, and Rafaela SILVA (BRA), 2013 world champion, faced off for the right to step on the podium. For most of the fight, Corina CAPRIORIU (ROU) gave the impression that she was leading and controlling her opponent by penalties (2 to 0) but after misjudging an attack-counter attack moment, SILVA finally took over and threw CAPRIORIU for waza-ari.

Final Results: 1. MATSUMOTO, Kaori (JPN). 2. MONTEIRO, Telma (POR). 3. SILVA, Rafaela (BRA). 3. YOSHIDA, Tsukasa (JPN). 5. CAPRIORIU, Corina (ROU). 5. YAMAMOTO, Anzu (JPN). 7. BLOT, Laetitia (FRA). 7. UDAKA, Nae (JPN)

MEN
-60kg: KIM doubles his lead in Tokyo
KIM Won Jin (KOR) and SHISHIME Toru (JPN) were the two athletes invited to the final, after having respectively defeated TSAI Ming Yen (TPE), Tobias ENGLMAIER (GER), YAMAMOTO Hirofumi (JPN) and Rustam IBRAYEV (KAZ) for the Korean and HWANG Dong Kyu (KOR), AN Jianqi (CHN), Artiom ARSHANSKI (ISR) and OSHIMA Yuma (JPN) for the Japanese, knowing the SHISHIME was not among the favorites in the morning. Throughout the fight and despite the full implication of both fighters, only penalties were distributed: two to KIM and three to SHISHIME. Thus after having won the Jeju Grand Prix, last week, KIM Won Jin goes one step higher with his victory in Tokyo and the 500 points gained in Japan, will help him to move forward within the World Ranking List.

The first bronze medal fight was disputed between the two Japanese, YAMAMOTO Hirofumi (JPN), winner of the Asian Championships, Bangkok 2013 and OSHIMA Yuma (JPN), bronze medallist of the Tyumen Grand Slam this summer. After a tough fight between two athletes who perfectly know each other, OSHIMA Yuma, won the medal with a single shido difference, even if during the combat, he was not far from scoring with a powerful ko-uchi-gari, which was just lacking a bit of control at the conclusion of the movement.

In the second bronze medal fight, Artiom ARSHANSKI (ISR) was opposed to Rustam IBRAYEV (KAZ). Top seeded athlete and world number one, GANBAT Boldbaatar (MGL), was rapidly eliminated during the first round. After an already difficult first fight against UROZBOEV Diyorbek (UZB), won by a single yuko, GANBAT was ten defeated by David PULKRABEK (CZE), who then lost against the Kazakh, IBRAYEV, present in this first bronze medal fight. To access the podium, IBRAYEV was the first to score with a rotating sumi-gaeshi for waza-ari, followed a little bit later by an ippon from a counter-attack (yoko-guruma).

Final Results: 1. KIM, Won Jin (KOR). 2. SHISHIME, Toru (JPN). 3. IBRAYEV, Rustam (KAZ). 3. OSHIMA, Yuma (JPN). 5. ARSHANSKI, Artiom (ISR). 5. YAMAMOTO, Hirofumi (JPN). 7. LIMARE, Vincent (FRA). 7. PULKRABEK, David (CZE)

-66kg: Teenager ABE defeats World Champion on His Way to Gold
For the last final of the male’s category, Golan POLLACK (ISR), aged 23 and fifth one week ago in Jeju, and ABE Hifumi (JPN) were not the expected athletes when the competition started this morning Pollack being only ranked 21 at the World Ranking List, and ABE being the silver medallist of the last Junior World Championships in Florida, several weeks ago. ABE took the advantage with an o-soto-gari technique for yuko. Just a few seconds later, with an ample o-uchi-gari which started inside the fighting area and ended against the advertising boards, he almost doubled his advantage before being penalized a little later for passivity. With a strong tai-otoshi, the Japanese again was very close to increasing his lead, but POLLACK landed on his stomach for no-score. Nevertheless, ABE could maintain POLLACK at safe distance to win his first major senior title.

In the first bronze medal fight of the category, the young AN Baul (KOR), still junior, faced a more experienced competitor with PULYAEV Mikhail (RUS), silver in Chelyabinsk this summer on the occasion of the World Championships. Having scored a waza-ari with Mikhail PULYAEV had many difficulties to stay ahead on the scoreboard as AN was pushing and making him penalized. But finally the Russian could relax and enjoy his bronze medal after a long a hard competition day.

One of the main surprises of the day, after the elimination of GANBAT in the -60kg, and of Sarah Menezes in the women’s -48kg, was the defeat of the three-time world champion EBINUMA Masashi (JPN), who lost against his teammate, ABE Hifumi (JPN), in the semi-final. For the bronze medal fight, EBINUMA was again opposed to another teammate, TAKAICHI Kengo and it was said that this was not his day, as once again, after a terrific fight, where neither of the two athletes were able to throw their opponent, EBINUMA was trapped by an immobilization for ippon.

Final Results: 1. ABE, Hifumi (JPN). 2. POLLACK, Golan (ISR). 3. PULYAEV, Mikhail (RUS). 3. TAKAICHI, Kengo (JPN). 5. AN, Baul (KOR). 5. EBINUMA, Masashi (JPN). 7. MARGVELASHVILI, Vazha (GEO). 7. ZANTARAIA, Georgii (UKR).

PROGRAMME
Saturday
10:00 Preliminaries
16:00 Final block

Women: -63kg, -70kg
Men: -73kg, -81kg

Sunday
10:00 Preliminaries
16:00 Final block

Women: -78kg, +78kg
Men: -90kg, -100kg, +100kg. —- IJF/Photos © IJF Media by Gabriela Sabau.

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